The Great Pacific Friends and Family Tour Part II

So, remember how I said that Katie Walker (our RV) couldn’t off road?  Well…  everyone surprises you at times, don’t they?

The girls playing amongst the baby grape vines. They found and caught a frog in record time.

Late July found us in Yolo County, inspecting baby grape vines which we have on order for our Canadian project.  It was an educational stop for all of us with a tour of the nursery and a traditional German lunch with the WHOLE (even extended) Knights Family.   From there, it was off to see Oma, my grandmother, who puts us all to shame (or, is a great life example) with her sprightliness at age 98.  How many 98-year-olds make their grand and great-grandchildren dinner, sit and listen to them read for hours and then send them off with sandwiches which they made?  We are so fortunate to have her in our lives and have had the time to stop in and just be with her.

Evening walks in the delta among the pears


Oma in her kitchen with two of her 16??? great-grandchildren.

Oma sent us on our way to her most favorite place in the whole world; the forest service cabin up in the Sierra Nevada which was built by her father-in-law.  Katie Walker was a trooper heading up the mountain.  Provisioning and errands took so long, that we were heading up the highway in the dark.  Katie Walker loved the cool climb and tackled it with ease.  So much ease that the next day, Cameron and I couldn’t help testing her metal a bit more.  Due to her size, we had planned to drop camp along the way to the cabin and then be picked up and ferried in by my parents the next day.  As the long road into the cabin is dirt, at 8,000 ft and consists of at least one water crossing, we had (when in the valley) firmly decided not to risk it.  You were crazy if you thought she could get in there.

Well, we were feeling rather adventurous so we just kept saying “let’s just see how she does”  “If she can’t make it past this turn, we will just back up to the closest camp site.”  So, on and on we went…very slowly…past sharp turns, encroaching forest, washed out sections of the road, large boulders and WE MADE IT!  Well, we lost the spare tire in the creek crossing, but no harm was done.  We were all very proud to see Katie Walker sitting pretty right next to the cabins.  It afforded us more time up there with family which was a huge blessing.

Cameron retrieving our spare tire from the creek.  This doesn’t look too bad until you think that 36% (12′ of our 33′ overall) resides behind the rear axle.  A little bit of up and down can lead to a whole lot of scraping.  You can see the trench made by the hitch just to the left and above the tire in this photo.


The girls looking excitedly toward the cabin.  WE MADE IT!


Camp was awesome as usual.  We spent time with my parents for a few days and were then joined by my cousin Justin, his wife, and kids as well as her family.  We all celebrated her father Ed’s 60th birthday with hikes and lots of great cocktails.  After ducking daily thunderstorms, climbing peaks, walking valleys, fishing, singing, sliding down mountains and making lots of s’mores, it was time to head North for my 20th High School Reunion.

Day 1 up in the Mountains we were caught in a huge thunder, lightning and hail storm while out fishing. We were soaked through in this photo…but we are smiling!


Getting cozy after the storm




The second cousins hanging out at the top of Three Trees


Isa giving Poppi a run for his money


Hiding from the rain again, this time with cousins after a great hike

We pushed north through a thick fog of smoke.  Fire season has covered the Northwest with a dense layer this year and we saw first hand what a bummer it is.  Despite the smoke, we spent a lovely long weekend with my Aunt Carla and Uncle Paul in Bend, OR.  We also enjoyed spending time with their pack of dogs and heard of horses!  The girls were in fits when we left as they had bonded thoroughly with all their new four legged friends.

Adelaide bonding with the coolest dachshund ever.


Isa and Adelaide LOVED their time with Uncle Paul and Aunt Carla and all their animals!

After swimming through the smokey air or Central Oregon, we made it to Walla Walla.  I’m so impressed with my graduating class.  I was fortunate to have such motivated, interesting and curious people as peers.  I got to see my former choir teacher Mr. Dennis and many close friends from that time in my life.  What a great group of people!

From Walla Walla, we ditched the RV at a repair shop to get a few kinks worked out while we took a rental car up to Canada for a week of work.  They are making great progress in the construction of the winery and the team is wonderful.  We are very excited and proud of the project.

Progress being made on the underground cellars


…and this is what the girls did while we were in meetings. Showing off for the boss 🙂

Once back to Katie Walker, we were off to the eclipse in Idaho where we met up with my sister Karen, her husband Daniel, their daughter Jolie as well as some friends from Napa;  Kendal, Maxime, Katia, Helen and Emerson.  We met in the “Path of Totality” near the Sawtooth mountains in central Idaho just east of Stanley.  With all the media hype we were a little nervous about traffic and all the crazies that might be coming out.  But, to our complete joy, it was no busier than any other weekend (or so said a local).  I can’t begin to describe how amazing the eclipse was.  I think that if you were not in the path of totality, it was not much to see, cool, but nothing like the full meal deal.  When the moon covered the sun and you could take your glasses off in the cool strangely gray air… the quiet… well, it would have been quiet except we were whooping and hollering because it was so amazing.

All the kids having a Magna-tile fest.


It’s coming….


It’s here!

It was a straight shot North up to Whitefish Montana after the eclipse.  We descended on my sister and proceeded to play for about a week.  The girls had a blast with their cousin during the last week of her summer break.  The girls swam in the lake, terrorized the neighborhood with the rest of the Cedar St. gang, built forts in the backyard and foraged for huckleberries.  In all the visits I’ve made to see my sister, I’d never been to Glacier National Park!  So in the interest of earning JR Ranger badges, we had a great visit.  I could have stayed there indefinitely (or at least until the snow came).  But, true to form in this leg of our RV life, it was time to move on.

More next time on some fun we have bee having with other traveling families as well as with some ancient animals!


Huckleberries! Some did actually make it into the bag.  Karen was right, foraging does make you feel one with nature.


The girls and their cousin getting their Junior Ranger certification from Glacier National Park!


Working while RVing in Karen’s dining room.



Some colored pencil drawings of some of my favorite flowers up at highlands this year


And, because there is a pic of Poppi… I must include a shot of Nanna (with whom we made a stop between the Nursery and Oma’s to get some medical stuff done). Here she is showing Isa her latest garden design.  She is an accomplished nurseryman and landscape designer.


  1. Marianne McGriff says:

    Anne, As always, I LOVE your posts, pictures, stories and adventures…you write and make me feel as though I’m right there with you. Please give my “girls” a big kiss and hug from Marianne! One of my favorite stories is about Oma…she reminds me of Carver who just celebrated his 93rd Bday!!! Of course, Barb and Doug were with us to celebrate! We just returned from a month in Europe…birth of a new granddaughter in Berlin, respite at Ballymaloe, and two weeks in France…the last 8 days leading 63 people on Carver’s Normandy experience. Now I’m thinking ahead a bit…but, praying that in TWO years you might land on the beach of Normandy and join us for the 75th Dday Anniversary! WOW! That would be SO cool…might even talk Barb and Doug into being there!!!! SO much LOVE to ALL of you, Marianne

    • Anne Vawter says:

      Marianne!!! You have just pushed us to create a plan/goal! We recently went to the Family Adventure Summit and one of the major takeaways for me was goal setting. Cameron and I decided that we want to be there with you and Carver for the 75th Dday Anniversary. If Carver can make it, so can we! I’m not sure we will make it there by boat, we may have to have the help of a jet plane… but we are going to join you guys one way or another. THANK YOU For inspiring us with your own amazing story, history, and plans!

  2. Bruce McKendry says:

    Nice entry, Annie. You guys are moving so fast, it takes your blog to keep me current!
    Oh, and nice shot of Isa and I duelling at chess. It was a rare moment to see one’s cute, sweet granddaughter as a cunning predator! (proud of her, of course).
    Yur Pop

  3. Joyce Beery Miles says:

    Again enjoying your wonderful story of your journeys. Love reading about places we have visited and loved, like Glacier National Park. Your trip up,to the cabin was nuts!!!! We have driven many of those switchback roads in North Carolina and they are crazy even in a regualar SUV.

    • Anne Vawter says:

      Hi Joyce,
      So glad you are taking part in our journey! The roads are a bit crazy, and we are a bit crazy for taking our RV where we have taken her… But, like we tell the kids, nothing ventured, nothing gained:)

    • Anne Vawter says:

      Hi Heidi,
      Well, you have been a great example of living life to the fullest! You have always been an inspiration to me with your healthy your work/life balance. Much love and I look forward to seeing you during harvest in Napa!

    • Anne Vawter says:

      I know!! What were we thinking? I didn’t take enough photos either. We were just plain enjoying ourselves so didn’t pick up our phones. I do need to hit you up for some of the videos we took singing though… I have video plans… more resolutions from the Family Adventure Summit.

  4. Libbey McKendry says:

    So many fun memories! I love all the pictures! So glad you made it to Highlands and we could join you. Love you all.

    • Anne Vawter says:

      MOM! I love you and so glad we had time at Highlands together! I really really really appreciate how supportive you guys are of our travel. Many traveling families are not so blessed. You guys are awesome!

  5. Stephanie Christian says:

    Anne, you were near our home in Idaho, about 50 minutes north from us! My son was working at the Smiley Creek Lodge, which was near Stanley. So glad you guys got to be there for the eclipse!

    • Anne Vawter says:

      Hi Stephanie,
      It was so fun meeting you guys at the Summit! The eclipse was absolutely amazing, wasn’t it? You are so fortunate to live in that part of the world, it is truly a special place. Hope you had a great rest of your trip!

  6. Joanie Schumann says:

    I really hope you put this all into a book…I love reading your
    daily adventures. What an incredible life for your girls and you

    Joanie Schumann

    • Anne Vawter says:

      Hi Joanie,

      THANK YOU THANK YOU. I do hope it might be worthy of being bound some day too (my secret dream). But for now, It is just going to have to make up for the fact that I never really did the baby book thing! My kids will hopefully enjoy going back and reading about our adventures… and if not them, then their kids might get a kick out of it!

  7. Anne, thank you for sharing your journey here! It is so fun to read about your experiences and keep up to date with you all. 🙂 Loving your blog! I’m really glad we could meet at the summit. Thank you for coming and adding your own beautiful energy to the event.

    • Anne Vawter says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      Thank you so much! It was so special to meet you and I know we will see eachother in the future! Thank you for your wonderful seminar on building healthy relationsips at the conference. So much great information to chew on.

  8. Libbey Mckendy says:

    Dear Anne, Your mom has just read your blog to me and shown me your pictures. You make me feel as though I am right there with you! Thank you!
    I wish I could have been at Highlands with you. Your mom and dad are driving me up tomorrow for a day trip to Highlands. I’m looking forward to the wonderful, refreshing, pine scented mountain air. I was in college the first time I went up with Opa, chaperoned by his mother and father. Because of that trip they renewed their interest in the mountain experience and built the three little cabins on the hill and the barn which we cherish today. Love Oma

    • Anne Vawter says:

      OMA! What a wonderful story and how special that you chaperoned Cameron and I there as well when we went up so much during our College years. Continuting the family traditoins. We love you!!!

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